Fri 28 Sep 2018

Governance course launched

Te Atiawa leaders shared almost two decades of experience when WITT’s new Level 4 course to assist Māori in governance was launched last weekend.

The New Zealand Certificate in Māori Governance course has been shared with WITT by the Bay of Plenty-based polytech Toi Ohomai.

Course coordinator BJ Hetet said it was a privilege to have such a strong representation from Te Atiawa to discuss their knowledge and experiences of the Māori governance sector. 

Relevant and real-life experiences of governance at the iwi-level were used to illustrate the main points of learning.  The result was a highly engaging day of learning from the beginning to end. 

“It was an honour for those who attended to be enlightened and be given an understanding of the relevant issues at the forefront of the Maori governance landscape and also to be able to ask relevant questions that”.

Initially, the 17-week course was to start at the end of 2017 in Taranaki, but at that time talks were continuing with Te Atiawa and Taranaki iwi, who had just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with WITT.

“We wanted a functional model that could work for both entities, and with the iwi fully behind this course, they will be a driving influence for people to enrol,” he said.

The course is designed to contribute to professional, ethical, social and culturally responsive Māori leadership and falls into the fees-free category.

It is catering for members of marae committees and boards but will have a wider application to people interested in the application of Māori cultural concepts into governance approaches.  The programme is promoted as an opportunity to understand more about Māori business protocol.

 “Iwi have highlighted concerns over a lack of capacity at governance levels – most board and trust members are also active in other forums and involved in other kaupapa,” BJ said.

That highlighted a need to develop more skilled people in Māori governance to help drive the waka forward.

 “This course provides the tools for those people to understand their roles and responsibilities in a formal learning environment rather than at the cliff face by trial and error.”

When the course was announced in Taranaki last year Wharehoka Wano, CEO of Te Kahui o Taranaki, said Taranaki and Te Atiawa iwi were prioritising support for their marae and hapū committees with governance training.

The programme builds first level management skills and will be delivered mainly at weekends by facilitators from local iwi to ensure a strong local context to the learning.  The first course, Apiti hono tātai hono, is co-facilitated by Liana Poutu, Te Atiawa trust chairperson, and Hēmi Sundgren, manager of Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Trust. 

Te Poihi Campbell, Project Manager of Te Atiawa Charitable Trust, has also been a strong supporter of the course.

“Ngai Tahu and Tainui have set the blueprint for managing resources, but as expected endured some difficulties along the way,” BJ said. “This course is designed to help iwi avoid those obstacles.”

Enrolments for the course are still open and the next wananga is scheduled for November 10. If you are interested in learning about Māori governance from some of the people at the forefront of Māori leadership in the region, contact BJ on 06 757 3100 ext 8757 or on  You can learn all about the course on the WITT website – go here.  You will also find details on how to enrol.


Picture: Liana Poutu, in Te Piere last weekend, is co-facilitating the Māori governance course.